The Profitable Podcaster

What is Dynamic Ad Insertion (and can Indie Podcasters Use it)?

Today I want to talk to you about DAI, or Dynamic Ad Insertion. DAI is a way for you to automatically insert ads (or any audio clip) into your already produced podcast episodes. Let’s dive into how exactly it works, how you can get started, and what indie podcasters should use it for.

Show Notes

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One of my favorite podcasts, which has hundreds of thousands of downloads has been starting every episode like this recently, “Let’s take a break and thank our sponsor.” Those are the first words I hear when I press play on this particular podcast. And if you are not aware of certain technologies in the podcast industry, you might be wondering, “What are we taking a break from? We just got started.” But if you know what Dynamic Ad Insertion is, then you’ll know that this is nothing more than a Dynamic Ad gone awry.

And that one podcast I listen to is not the only podcast to suffer from this problem. And I am far from the only podcaster to notice this happen. Marco Arment tweeted recently, “Cheap, sloppy Dynamic Ad Insertion or DAI in podcasts continue to degrade the experience for listeners.” And he points out that they blame the app. He is a podcast app developer. He makes the very popular Overcast app, which if my stats are to be believed, most of you are listening on Overcast. So thank you for listening.  

But then Marco goes on to say, “But DAI podcasters, what are you doing? You’re throwing your audience away. These people will leave forever.”

And while there are numbers to suggest that that’s not necessarily the case, what it does show is a lack of attention to detail because with the dynamic ad gory in the podcast I listen to, it’s one of a few options. Either they are running a Midroll ad at the pre-roll. Or the advertiser decided they didn’t want a Midroll ad. They wanted a pre-roll ad. And the hosts just never rerecorded the ad spot. And either way, they’re doing both their audience and their advertiser a disservice because it is distracting. 

But Dynamic Ad Insertion is not all bad. And in today’s episode, I wanna tell you what it is, how it works, and how you as an independent podcaster can leverage it even if you don’t sell ads on your podcast.

Joe Casabona: Hello! And welcome to Make Money Podcasting, where I teach you how to make your first $10,000 with your podcast. On this show, you’ll learn tried and true methods to increase your revenue and turn your podcast from a money pit into a money maker.

Hi! I’m your host, Joe Casabona. And my podcasts have been making money from day one without a lot of downloads. I’ll share everything I know with you here on Make Money Podcasting. 

Okay. So first let’s get into what is Dynamic Ad Insertion or DAI. DAI is a way for you to automatically insert ads or any audio clip into your already produced podcast episodes. 

Now, sometimes this is referred to, or possibly conflated with programmatic advertising. Brian Barletta has a fantastic piece over on sounds profitable about programmatic advertising for podcasters and how to get started. I’ll cite a few pieces from this. But I’m going to differentiate Dynamic Ad Insertion a little bit from straight-up programmatic advertising because I think DAI, you can use for more than just ads. 

But, here’s how Brian defines programmatic advertising. “The ability for a publisher to gain full control and access to the operational and functional tools that programmatic advertising brings to the table for their own use. Essentially, they are getting access to an ad server that sells inventory. And there are very few podcast hosts.” He cites Simple Cast and Omni studio as the only two hosting platforms where ad server is directly integrated.

And then he goes on to talk about CPM, which we’ll talk about in a minute. But I wanted to point this out because Dynamic Ad Insertion doesn’t just have to advertise sold from an ad server. There are a few other ways to use it. And I should say that DAI is the exact opposite of DAI is a baked-in ad. Right? And that’s if you look at How I Built It, my other podcast, all of those ads are baked-in ads. Either I read them live on the show or more likely they were added during the edit. But not in a dynamic way like they are added. And then the audio has exported and uploaded to my audio host. So if I wanted to change or remove those ads, I’d have to download the episode, edit the episode, and then re-upload it.

With Dynamic Ad Insertion, you don’t have to worry about any of that. You basically upload your audio with either markers or gaps in the audio file. And then either the ad server you’re using or your audio host will automatically grab those spots, then place audio into them, and then send them out to apps. So you upload your episodes and then you can upload an audio clip or use an audio clip provided by the advertiser you mark. Whether that audio clip is a pre-roll post-roll or Midroll ad. And then your host does the rest. 

And the big benefit of this is that if you only want to sell an ad for 30 days, or if you only want to run a promo for 30 days, you can. You can after 30 days delete that dynamically inserted ad or replace it with another ad. So that’s the big benefit.

So, how can you use Dynamic Ad Insertion? I’ll probably talk about this again when I talk about pricing sponsorships. But yes, sponsorship is one and probably very or the most common way to use dynamic ad insertion.

Let’s say a brand comes to me and they want to run a promo only in October for their black Friday sale say. Or maybe November for their black Friday sale. Once the black Friday sale is over, if that’s a baked-in ad, it’s there forever and it’s not going to make any sense. But if they come to me in October and they say, “Hey, run this ad for four weeks. How much do you charge for that?” Then I can run that campaign. The problem with that as an indie podcaster or In a smaller podcaster is that I’m likely going to have to just straight up charge CPM. Right? So, CPM is the cost per Millie, which means cost per thousand downloads. So let’s say I have a podcast episode that gets downloaded 5,000 times in the first 30 days, and my CPM is $20, I can charge a hundred dollars for an ad spot which sounds great if you’re charging $0. 

But for my show that gets about that many downloads in 30 days, I charge between 250 and $239 per ad spot. So, you know, there are benefits. And the idea is that after 30 days I can maybe sell another ad spot there. But there’s a dramatic drop-off after 30 days, at least for my show like this definitely doesn’t make sense for my show.

But it’s not just for ads. This is really the point I’m getting at. Right. So yes, you can sell ads. You can do limited campaigns. But if you are an indie podcaster, here’s what I recommend. You probably have a product or a service or a mailing list, and you can use Dynamic Ad Insertion to dynamically change your call to action, depending on what you want to promote.

This is an idea I got from Sam Munoz. She was a guest on my How I Built It episode. She, most of the year on her podcast promotes her newsletter or tells people to join the wait list for her cohort-based course. But when the doors open for her cohort-based course, she changes her dynamic ad to promote that the doors are open. 

And this happens across every episode, which is great, right? Because maybe the doors are only open for two weeks. So now, if you’re doing baked a baked-in call to action, three weeks before you give people a warning, one week before you tell them there’s only one week left. And then the week the doors closed, you say, “Hey if you’re listening to this before a certain date, you know, there’s still time to get in.” But with a dynamic ad, every single episode in her catalog is updated to promote the cohort-based course. And the fact that the doors are open. 

So how do I apply this to my podcasting strategy, to my call to action? You heard it at the beginning of the show, at the top of the show. You heard a call to action that has been dynamically inserted.

So I don’t even know which one you heard because I don’t know when you’re listening to this episode. But most of the time, it’s going to be to, join my newsletter (probably with a lead magnet). For parts of the year, it’s going to be, yes, the doors are open for a course I’m selling or for a new membership, or maybe I’m running a Black Friday sale and I want to promote the Black Friday sale for a few weeks or during the time that that sale is happening. But most of the time it’s going to be my lead magnet. And that is a big, big benefit of Dynamic Ad insertion for smaller podcasters. I’m not saying don’t sell ads, or don’t do sponsorships. But we’ll talk about this in a future episode. There is a better way for you to price your sponsorship if you are not getting tons and tons of downloads. 

So, subscribe to the show to make sure you don’t miss that episode. But I think that if you have a product to sell, or if you have a mailing list, Dynamic Ad Insertion is best. 

So how do you get Dynamic Ad Insertion? A lot of hosts are starting to offer this now. So I use Buzz Sprout. I offer it. I think it’s great. They offer pre-roll or post-roll. Pre-roll is before the show. Post-roll is after the end of the show. So if you’re going to do that, like kind of make sure that you don’t end it in a weird way. Right? Like, let people know that. To expect that’s coming. 

And then there’s Transistor.fm. They offer a bunch of features. But pre-post and Midroll are included for Dynamic Ad Insertion. I recently read that maybe Blueberry and Lipson also offer this. But I’m not a hundred percent sure about that. I couldn’t find the exact language at the time that I looked at each of these, like, they have articles on Dynamic Ad Insertion. But as far as I can tell, you know, they list like podcasts monetization, subscriptions, and advertising. But they don’t specifically mention Dynamic Ad Insertion. So Jerry’s out. But I know for sure that Buzz Sprout and Transistor.fm offer those. 

So that’s Dynamic Ad Insertion. To recap, Dynamic Ad Insertion is the ability to add audio to an already produced podcast episode automatically. The way it works is you record those things separately. You mark the episodes. You want this audio to be attached to pre-post or Midroll, and then you can choose when to end that campaign. But every episode in your feed gets updated. So from that moment on, that moment until you say stop, anytime somebody downloads that episode, they’re going to get the dynamically inserted ad. 

You can use it for advertising. I recommend using it to promote your own stuff. So your mailing list most of the time, and if you have a sale or the doors are open to a course or something like that, then change the dynamic ad across all of your episodes to promote that.

And if you want to get started, I recommend Buzz Sprout. I will link too. I will have a link for them in the show notes for this episode, which you can find in your podcast player or over at [makemoneypod.com/209]. Full disclosure, it will be an affiliate link.  So I think they like hook me up with a $20 Amazon gift card every time someone signs up. So, hooray! So that is either Buzz Sprout or Transistor.fm  I use Buzz Sprout. I’m very happy with the way it works. 

If you want to hear what the dynamic ad is like, you can listen to the top of this show again. 

But that’s it for this episode. I want to thank you so much for listening. 

If you have any questions about Dynamic Ad Insertion or any questions about podcasting at all, feel free to email me at joe@podcastliftoff.com. But thanks so much for listening to Make Money Podcasting. Presented by Podcastliftoff.

If you liked this episode, give it a rating and a review on Apple podcasts. I’d really appreciate that specifically.  

And until next time. I’m Joe Casabona, and I can’t wait to see what you make.

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